A Hidden Gem in the Heart of Amsterdam
Amble along one of the most historic areas in Amsterdam and you will uncover The Dylan, a luxury boutique hotel situated on the fifth canal on the ‘Keizersgracht’. Once your gaze turns away from the awe-striking view of the canal, your stare will turn to a prominent, grand stone archway; this is The Dylan Amsterdam.
Steeped in history, the boutique hotel was originally constructed as a stone and wooden theatre in the 17th century. It was visited by some rather distinguished guests too, including the Prince of Orange and the Russian Tsar. However, over 100 years later, during one of the performances, the theatre caught fire and was completely burnt down, leaving only the stone archway. After that, the site was sold to one of the Regents of the Roman Catholic Church charities and then in 1998, the building was completely renovated and opened its doors as a luxury boutique hotel, the Dylan Amsterdam.
Despite its grandiose exterior, I was greeted by a warm and welcoming atmosphere, which made me feel like I had stumbled upon a hidden jewel. Decorated in rich, white and black colours I made my way through the hallway and to a lounge area. The reason for my visit was not to stay the night (although I would have loved to!) but to indulge in one of the ‘highs’ they had to offer.
Not the ‘high’ you were thinking about…
It’s no secret the type of ‘highs’ you can get in Amsterdam, but the one I was interested in was totally different in every sense.
Having secured a Michelin star at Vinkeles, their exquisite restaurant, The Dylan strived to create an entirely new concept which would encapsulate their unique gastronomical experience with customer service. In 2009 The Dylan introduced High Wine.
High Wine, my new favourite meal
You’ve all heard of the quintessentially British High Tea but The Dylan Amsterdam has come up with a totally new concept, and one where quite frankly I have been missing from my life for far too long! It’s called High Wine and pairs food and wine together through a selection of four amuse style bites (deriving from amuse bouche) with four glasses of wine that are selected specifically with the dish.
When do you treat yourself to such a culinary delight? The Dylan Amsterdam serves High Wine daily between 3 and 5pm.
Although I wouldn’t call myself a food and wine connoisseur, I’ve certainly eaten my way through a lot of dishes and sampled some of the best wines the world has to offer. Needless to say, I was extremely looking forward to indulging in such an extravagant experience.
I was shown to the Lounge area which overlooks the courtyard and garden and is situated between Brasserie OCCO, which is the casual lunch and dining room and the Michelin star Restaurant Vinkeles.
I munched on some sizeable olives until the waitress came over and explained how High Wine worked.
Smoked Albacore Tuna with poached egg, pink pepper and crispy seaweed accompanied with Manz Kalkstein Scheurebe Trocken 2014 white wine from Rheinhessen in Germany.
I think this was my favourite amuse bite. The infusion of tastes and textures really made the dish and it was incredibly flavoursome. The wine was very refreshing and chosen specifically to go with tuna.
Mullet filet served in fishsoup with mussels, squid, Dutch Alderliefste potatoes from “Texel”, cheese crostini and aili served with the white wine Domaine Massiac Viognier 2014 from Languedoc-Roussillon in France.
This wine was a fruitier, sweet white wine best accompanied with seafood.
Roasted pheasant breast with sauerkraut, smoked sausage, bacon and laurel sauce with a glass of Italian red wine, Agriverde Riseis.
I loved this dish; the pheasant was succulent and went very well with the sourness of the sauerkraut, a vegetable I wasn’t familiar with and all washed down with a highly quaffable red wine. Perfect.
“Gateau Opera” dark chocolate, coffee mousse and Mascarpone sorbet accompanied with Tschida Spatlese dessert wine from Austria.
My final dish was a delicious dessert and as I’m writing this my mouth is watering from the thought of that mascarpone sorbet! I never usually have a dessert wine with my puddings however being a fan of all things sweet from now on I certainly will do!
Those were my four fabulous amuse bites and after them I was well and truly sunk! However, that wasn’t the end of my fine dining experience as I was asked whether I’d like to try some gin and tonic. This was no ordinary gin, in fact it was virgin gin, meaning alcohol free. Another new concept to me..! 😉 Dylan’s virGIN was very refreshing and tasted like the real deal! It was the brainchild f one of the waiters at The Dylan and now the hotel exclusively stocks it! Pretty cool, eh? For anyone who doesn’t drink but wants a fancy tipple, I would recommend giving Virgin a whirl.
Taking a peak around the hotel
Although I didn’t get to spend the night at The Dylan, I was given a tour around the boutique hotel and caught a glimpse of the luxury their guests are treated to. There are 40 rooms and suites you can lay your head down at and incredibly each one is bespoke and individually designed.
The Dylan has a hidden gem of its own; well-known Dutch interior designer, Remy Meijers partnered with The Dylan to design 16 rooms and 2 suites. I was shown around one of the suites he designed which is part of their Serendipity Collection. The suite was spacious and contemporary with a masculine feel to it due to the brown and grey furnishings which oozed indulgence and decadence.
The Dylan Amsterdam High Wine Experience – the verdict
I couldn’t fault the customer service, and would like to point out the how impeccable it was and how friendly and informative the waitress serving me was. The High Wine is certainly an experience where you can learn about the wine and food you are being served. Your taste buds will be in for the ultimate treat and in my opinion, High Wine is a worthy substitute for High Tea. If you fancy indulging in some gastronomical treats in a luxurious setting, then The Dylan should be top of your list and at €39.50 per person it’s worth splashing out on. I had a lovely experience and will be on the lookout for High Wine cropping up in more places -it’s certainly a concept I can get fully on board with!
Thank you to The Dylan Amsterdam for inviting me to review their High Wine. All opinions are my own.
I’d love to know what you think about my review and whether High Wine is something you’re tempted by? x